University Relations and Communications

Excellence affirmed

September 14, 2011


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU Billings again in top tier of regional universities in West, according to U.S. News & World Report


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana State University Billings has once again been ranked as one of the nation’s “Best Colleges” by U.S. News and World Report. The university is being recognized as one of the top tier regional universities in the West for undergraduate through master’s level academics in “America’s Best Colleges 2012.”


For a decade, MSU Billings had ranked among top colleges in the third tier of schools. Last year, MSU Billings has been ranked in the first tier, coming in at No. 83. 


Highlights of the college rankings will be published in the September 2011 issue of U.S. News & World Report, available for newsstand purchase next week.


MSU Billings and the City of Billings as seen from the top of the Rimrocks


“This recent report is an affirmation of our excellent faculty and our university-wide commitment to access and student success,” Chancellor Rolf Groseth said. “The wonderful people who work here and the students who study with us and engage with the Billings community know how good we are. It’s gratifying to see that knowledge reiterated formally in this report.”


MSU Billings was recognized as one of the top private and public colleges or universities in its category: “Best Regional Universities- West Region” for institutions that provide “a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs,” according to the newest issue of the magazine.


According to the methodology used by U.S. News & World Report, rankings are based on several key measures of quality. Academic reputation, peer assessment, graduation and retention rates, student/faculty ratios and average alumni giving all used to rank colleges.

The magazine’s guidelines and rankings are used to help students and parents in their college-selection process. All facets of the college experience are weighed, such as the overall feel of the university, student activities, cost, availability of financial aid and sports. But academics lead the way.


Located in Montana’s urban center, MSU Billings is a university of more than 5,300 students and features more than 70 academic options in allied health, the arts and sciences, education, business and technology. Students can also choose from 21 totally online programs, designed to meet the needs of busy students, especially working adults. The student/faculty ratio of 20:1 means smaller classes for improved student-faculty engagement.


MSU Billings received its rankings in the categories of:

  • A peer assessment score: Opinions of MSU Billings, as ranked by presidents, academic vice presidents and deans of admissions at colleges and universities throughout the country, gave MSU Billings a solid rating, especially in the area of faculty dedication to teaching.
  • The high percent of faculty who teach full time and who have doctoral degrees: Research shows that the more satisfied students are about their contact with professors, the more they will learn and the more likely it is they will graduate, publishers at U. S. News say in their report. Seventy percent of the faculty at MSU Billings teach full time.
  • An average faculty/student ratio of only 20-1 or less: About 43 percent of the classes at MSU Billings have classes with fewer than 20 students. Only 5 percent of the classes at MSUB have 50 or more students, according to the data.
  • The students who enter MSU Billings with high ACT/SAT scores, and the percentage of students who graduate from high school in the top 25% of their graduating class;
  • The average freshman retention rate and the average graduation rate; and,
  • Alumni giving: The percentage of alumni who give to their school is an indirect measure of satisfaction, the publication’s ranking criteria notes. 

For more information about MSU Billings and its programs, go to


PHOTO ABOVE: Located in urban center of Montana — home to the state’s healthcare, banking and energy hubs — MSU Billings was again ranked in the top tier of regional universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report.